Decisions on which candidates are to receive offers of places are made on the basis of a combination of performance in interviews, the school or college reference, actual and predicted exam results, and any other relevant factors concerning the application. So far as possible, both intellectual achievement and potential are taken into consideration. Our aim is to choose students of high ability who have a keen interest in their subject, and who are likely to benefit most from the unique opportunities in this field of education at Cambridge.

Whatever the outcome of your interview, please look at it as a worthwhile experience. Any extra work or thinking about a subject you will have done will help you towards your current studies. The interview will have given you good skills and experiences, and you may even have made some new friends whilst you are here. And after all, if you don’t try, you’ll never know if you could have come to Downing.

There are three possible things that will happen after your interview:

You may be unsuccessful

Ah well, so it wasn’t to be. Try to put it behind you and carry on with your studies. No doubt that if you were good enough to consider Cambridge, then the other institutions on your UCAS form will take a close look at you too. If you are unsuccessful, don’t take it personally. There are around 4 applicants per place in the University, so it is very competitive. Interviewers have an incredibly difficult job to do in assembling the groups of students they will make offers to.

You might be put in the Pool

No, this isn’t some strange Cambridge ritual or a particularly sinister part of the applications process. Pooling a candidate happens if the college feels they cannot offer a place to a candidate because they are over-subscribed for candidates in that subject, but feels that the candidate is good enough to come to Cambridge. Therefore all candidates from across the colleges who are pooled are placed on a list and then colleges to which you didn’t originally apply look at the list and select candidates they would like to consider further and/or interview. The pooling interviews take place in early January, and are arranged by and in the college which has picked you from the Pool. Pooling interviews differ very little from the original interview.

Not all those pooled are invited to be interviewed by another college, and not all those interviewed get a place. However, it’s not unusual to be pooled and the vast majority of those who are pooled and are then offered a place at another college accept their place and thoroughly enjoy their 3 or 4 years at the college they didn’t actually apply to.

You might be made an offer

If Downing College wish to offer you a place we will send you a letter in early January explaining the conditions of the offer. The only offers which are unconditional are for those who have already met the entrance requirements. All other offers are conditional on examination performance. The standard offer made for science subjects is A*A*A at A Level and for arts subjects the standard offer is A*AA at A Level. For those candidates taking IB, a standard offer would be 7,7,6 at Higher Level with an overall score of 40 (which can include Theory of Knowledge). 

Candidates taking other qualifications will be expected to have studied to a level equivalent to that of the English and Welsh GCE Advanced Level examinations, and to gain top grades in these qualifications. Potential applicants taking alternative qualifications are encouraged to contact the Admissions Office well in advance of the application deadline of 15 October if they have questions about the suitability of their exam choices.

You will need to accept your offer via UCAS. 

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